Conservative believers have been outmaneuvered in the culture wars so many times that you would think we would be able to anticipate by now when it is about to happen again. As I have said many times, this culture war is actually a lexical war, a battle over control of the dictionary. And so it is that when we hear of some new weird emphasis, we should not regard it as a simple descent into more silliness, but rather as an opening gambit in a play to make us descend into the silliness right along with them.
And this is why we should be very wary of the new emphasis on consent as the foundational sexual value. Excuse me. In order to speak the language of our adversaries, I think I must have meant core values. Core values is the preferred expression of those who don’t have any values.
An Orwellian Wet Dream:
As with other lexical distortions, we need to begin with the cheerful acknowledgement that consent in sexual affairs really is a good thing. Rape is an evil thing, and to rob someone of consent is a species of rape. So when I write against the idolatry of consent, as I am about to do, we need to make it clear at the outset that this is not the work of a rape apologist. I make this qualification because the rape apologists will most certainly accuse me of doing exactly that.
In Narnia, as Hwin told Aravis, “no maiden is forced to marry against her will.”
So what do I mean by an “idolatry” of consent? Idolatry occurs whenever we seek to have a finite thing occupy a space that should be reserved for the infinite God. And that is precisely what we are doing with consent.
For one prime example, I would point to the “yes means yes” regulations for campuses in California. These regulations require an enthusiastic yes from both parties before engaging in sex, and because the enthusiasm can be withdrawn at any time, and consent needs to be obtained at every stage of the proceedings, this makes every sexual encounter, at a minimum, a ménage à trois—the guy, the girl, and the notary public. I said “guy and girl” although we all know, in these endarkened times, that the girl is optional, as is the guy. We could have two guys or two girls. The notary public is not optional. But however we configure things, it is impossible to read the advocates of this kind of thing without seeing immediately that consent is so important to them.
Is it really? No, not really. They are magnifying consent because they are in the process of taking it away. Consent, as they are using it, means bondage. Bunyan knew how all this worked.
“Then it came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his House, he would sell me for a Slave.”
Orwell knew how this worked also. Bunyan knew that language could be used in a lying fashion; he knew that liars could take ordinary words and propagate falsehoods with them. We really have known that since the Garden. But Orwell knew that lies, like termites, could burrow down into the language itself. If I tell someone that the check is in the mail when I know good and well that it is not in the mail, I am telling a lie. But it is an old school lie—one thing distorted in an otherwise normal world. But what if we started to redefine everything—check, mail, postal service, money, the lot?
Here are some words from Newspeak that Orwell gave us. Bellyfeel is a blind and enthusiastic embrace of a concept. Blackwhite is the capacity to believe down in your bones that black is white and that no one has ever believed anything different. Doubleplusungood represents something that is terrible. Goodsex is for the purpose of begetting children only, and is purely functional, excluding pleasure. Joycamp is the forced labor resort where you and I will be sent in order to learn all these new words. Pornosec is the unit in the Ministry of Truth that generates pornography. Prolefeed is mindless entertaining treacle generated to occupy the hoi polloi—what Huxley called the “feelies.” Sexcrime is any sexual activity that is not goodsex, see above.
And how is it that we do not recognize that these people will be able to make short work of consent?
So now we come back to California’s Ministry of Truth to find out just how important consent is to them. The fact that they are jiving just about everybody in this can be seen in the fact that they extended the “yes means yes” requirement to high school campuses—enthusiastic affirmation of a desire to have sex is now required at all high schools. This, even though the legal age of consent in California is 18, a fact that would include the vast majority of high school students. But do you see what has happened? Consent trumps the law.
So this new approach to enthusiastic consent trumps the previous legal definition of consent. Subjective, emotional and horny consent from a couple of fifteen-year-olds outranks judicious, thought-through, and well-defined consent, developed over centuries of jurisprudence. And anybody who says, “Hey, that’s doesn’t make sense” is probably a pharisaical Puritan anyway.
So that we might further consider our same planet/different worlds situation, I would invite you to peruse the article at the link. Get a load of the picture at the top. I would also like to ask you to ponder why it is that none of the adults involved in this are in jail.
Because the sexual revolution is driven by lust, this means there is no consistent stopping place. Whatever else we might say about the souped-up lustmobile we have all been driving, we should all be able to agree that the brakes are out.
Wisdom tells us that all who hate her love death (Prov. 8:36). And just as death and hell are never satisfied, so our lusts are never satisfied either.
“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man” (Prov. 27:20, ESV).
Nevertheless, all of it is known to God. Nothing about our spiral downwards into madness and destruction is surprising to Him.
“Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man!” (Prov. 15:11, ESV).
As the Daily Wire story makes plain, our culture currently has nothing in place to stop the great pedo-push when it comes. A few huffy customers? A bad yelp review? Fawning media can cover for all of that. And why will they be able to cover for it?
Because that willful 8-year-old boy, or 11-year-old boy, or whoever the victim is, has obviously given his consent. Consent! All rise.
In the older Christian order, consent was a creaturely good, and as a creaturely good, it was not an absolute. Consent was protected by the standard of God’s word, which is a very different thing than making it the standard itself. It was a creaturely good, and not an idol. Wise biblical thinking understands that consent is a limited, bounded, and finite thing. As such it can be impaired by alcohol or drugs. As such it can be something that has not yet grown to maturity. As such a number of the established boundaries for it needed to be societal and cultural. But when the culture has lost its mind . . .
In the world God made, a ten-year-old boy can consent to take over a friend’s paper route. He can consent to accompany his mother to the mall to buy new shoes. He cannot consent to hormone therapy. He cannot consent to a sexual relationship. He cannot consent gender reassignment. He cannot consent to participate in a drag show. He cannot.
Consent is a creaturely good which must be preserved and protected. But we have moved into an era—we are already well into it—where consent is automatically deemed to be the protection itself. And this is nothing but the yawning mouth of Hell.
But can a ten-year-old boy be willful? Could he insist that we take his consent seriously? Could he demand it? Absolutely, and if we are thinking rightly, we will ignore him. This is because we are living in God’s world, and not in his. We are living in God’s world, and not in the world of those who are committed to the grooming of young boys—or their media enablers.
We are living in a world governed by God, and not one governed by our lusts. However much lust wants to run the show . . . we do not give our consent.